International Medical Graduates

Welcome to NHS

We recognise that a major part of NHS workforce comprises of doctors who have trained overseas and then moved to UK and many of you train further to become GPs.

Our recent trainees have conducted a survey of existing trainees and come up with some tips and recommendations for international medical graduates.

Settling in UK

  1. Culture shock, be as social as you can. Try to communicate with locals. Learn about British lifestyle
  2. Always make sure to look after yourself. Can get lonely, talk to friends and colleagues, support from friends and family. Talk to other trainees and other IMGS – not to feel isolated and to get information easily
  3. Good documentation is crucial.
  4. Working with IT can be challenging, may need some time to get used to.
  5. Work as a team in NHS – doctors, nurses, HCAs, midwives. Familiarise with different abbreviations in NHS, local guidelines. Better to have some NHS experience before applying for training.
  6. Build good rapport with colleagues and patients. Work on your consultation skills.
  7. Relocation – research about the area you are moving to. Manage finance wisely, expensive to live in UK and childcare. Difficult living in Yorkshire without a car. Staying in hospital accommodation for first months will save you from commuting difficulties if you have not got a car and easier to get accommodation.
  8. Accept your learning needs before moving forward. Don’t hesitate to ask for HELP.
  9. Here is a document with some general advice on settling in UK when coming from overseas.

Tips for GP training

  1. Portfolio – Take “Little and often” approach, get friendly with your portfolio, use it as a tool to put your thoughts in order, never leave it for too long, don´t spend more than week without visiting it.
  2. WPBA – aware of the requirements in each placement and clear PDP in each placement
  3. Do exam early. Start studying for AKT from Day 1.
  4. Talk to ES, CS, TPDs if any concerns – they are there to HELP. Can also ask Omar.
  5. Join GP training groups and seek advice from other trainees.
  6. Effective communication, try to learn some tricks from the UK graduates eg consultation skills and how to approach patients and their relatives
  7. Learn actively to improve your knowledge not just for exam. Engage with teaching opportunities within rotation. Read about topics which are less familiar, think how each learning can be applied in GP.
  8. Learn about what happen when referring to secondary care while in hospital placement. Choose the placement that you think you need more experience in but don’t worry if you did not get the placement you wanted. You learn a lot in GP placement.
  9. Build good relationship with your colleagues. Be friendly to everybody


  1. Start studying early, give enough time to prepare.
  2. Make your own summaries and keep notes while studying, will become handy a few weeks to the exam.
  3. Study groups depending on your learning style
  4. Revise and practise
  5. Don’t be put down if you did not pass after first attempt.
  6. Use resources such as CKS, GP self-test, Oxford handbook, NICE guidelines and BNF summaries.
  7. Question banks are generally not recommended by scheme. Recommended information for AKT preparation can be found on the AKT page itself. If you still use question banks then trainees have found using more than one question bank helps, one question bank as one major learning tool and can diversify as time goes on. Important to cover statistics and admin topics.

Language and Cultural skills

  1. Listen to radio and watch movies, Watch BBC programmes, TV comedy series.
  2. Reading books (recommend “Watching English”)
  3. By having UK friends/colleagues and engaging them in discussion, socialise with people.
  4. Observe colleagues and seniors and learn from them.
  5. Appreciate different culture and background, engage in casual conversation with everyone.
  6. The more you work, the better it gets. Practise and it will get easier.
  7. Get some courses for linguistics. Attend communication skill courses if any within your deanery

Other things to consider

  1. Be optimistic about the journey and most importantly have great enthusiasm to be a better doctor here in the UK
  2. Be confident and work hard.
  3. Stay on top of ePortfolio entries, plan everything, don’t keep everything till the last minute
  4. Good work life balance, consider LTFT if appropriate to personal or financial needs
  5. Please avoid getting GP training as a way of getting first job in NHS. Better to have NHS experience before applying for training programme
  6. Settling down is not easy, will take time, don’t panic, seek help if you are struggling.

Other things which might help you

Trainees at Pennine scheme have collated some useful tips for you to help with you settling into GP training well, you can download using the button below.

Useful Tips